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HealthInfo Canterbury

Folic acid deficiency anaemia

Folic acid foods include avocado, cucumber, brussels sprouts, spinach, celery

Your body needs folic acid to make new cells in your body including red blood cells.

We get folic acid from lots of foods including vegetables, fruits, and wholegrain bread.

If you are low in folic acid you can get anaemia. If you have anaemia, you might feel tired and faint, be breathless, look pale and feel your heart thumping (palpitations). These symptoms happen because there is less oxygen in your body. Many people have no symptoms, and their anaemia is picked up by a blood test.

Causes of folic acid deficiency anaemia

You can get low in folic acid if you don’t get enough from your food.

Some gut conditions such as coeliac disease or Crohn's disease and some medicines can also cause low folic acid.

Diagnosing and treating folic acid deficiency anaemia

A blood test will measure your level of folic acid. This test normally measures both your folic acid and vitamin B12 levels.

Low folic acid is treated by increasing the amount of food with folic acid you eat.

You may also need to take folic acid tablets.

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Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Page created May 2020.

Page reference: 649267

Review key: HIANA-16978